Fall Fashion

Ready-To-Wear Fashion is in Focus

Fall is typically the time of the great charity events that bring together the city’s philanthropic glitterati – the Beaux Arts Ball, the Coral Gables Community Foundation Gala, the Red Cross Ball and so forth. It is a time for all who celebrate these events to dress to kill, in the highest fashion possible.

This fall things are different. “I have worked in the industry for 30 years now and nothing could have prepared me for this,” says Silvia Tcherassi, whose global brand is headquartered in Coral Gables. “The demand will definitely decrease because of all the cancelled or postponed events, such as red carpets, premieres, galas and weddings. Events during this season will either be virtual, or outdoors and reduced in size.”

“Haute couture is not in demand, and I believe it won’t be for the near future,” agrees Maritza Fernandez, another leading designer who keeps her shop in Coral Gables. “The restrictions and regulations on social gatherings has affected people’s willingness to congregate.”

Both Tcherassi and Fernandez have adapted their businesses in response to the pandemic, which not only evaporated demand for custom couture, but initially ended walk-in business. “For brands like mine that have recently ventured into wholesale and digital e-commerce, the in-store experience is especially important,” says Tcherassi. “But we have successfully created a marketing plan with a strong emphasis on our product and legacy—this has helped compensate our closed stores.”

For Fernandez, the epiphany of change came while she was overseas. “I was in Milan working on the Fall/Winter 2020 collection at the end of February,” she says. “From one day to the next, Italy and specifically Milan became the epicenter of COVID. The shortage of masks made me think they would be in high demand.” Fernandez immediately reorganized her operation to produce safe, fashionable masks. Initially she produced 500 for the local charity “Hermanos de la Calle,” but then sold more than 2,500 to her online client base. Now, with demand – and clients – beginning to return, both designers have turned toward the zeitgeist of comfort. “I am a firm believer that fashion, no matter the occasion, has to be always comfortable,” says Fernandez. “The trend now is to look relaxed and casual.”

“The most important trends coming out of the pandemic are an appreciation for comfort, the importance of tops – given that they are the most visible clothing item during Zoom calls – and utilitarian details such as pockets where you can keep the new essentials like face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer,” says Tcherassi.

Both designers are coming out with a fall lineup, but with much less emphasis on individually tailored clothing. “The lack of being able to anticipate or book events ahead of time is going to cause more people to buy ‘off the rack,’” says Fernandez. “To make something custom- made takes time, and because of all the uncertainty, customers prefer ready-made pieces right now.”


“Fashion is a reflection of the times we are living in, and the needs and overall mood of the present definitely influence the creative process,” says Silvia Tcherassi, whose retail outlet in the Shops at Merrick Park is just blocks from her atelier (design studio) on San Lorenzo Avenue. “When we started to reopen our stores, we introduced our Pre-Fall collection which, coincidentally, is casual, relaxed and with a warm color palette that is perfect for the current times…. I design for a woman that enjoys fashion and values small details, regardless of her age or her nationality. With the passing of time, you identify different patterns in fashion: Europeans tend to take more of a risk with their sartorial choices, Americans have a pragmatic approach while Latinas always want to be the center of attention.”

Silvia Tcherassi
350 San Lorenzo Ave. #2140

This crisp cotton poplin blouse is a classic staple. Featuring an off-the-shoulder silhouette that can also be worn as a squared neckline, this striped piece has a bow at the front and voluminous puff sleeves that hit just below the elbow. Lace trimmings in dark blue further elevate the silhouette. Paired here with a Biella skirt. (Blouse $480; Skirt $720)

This multicolored botanical leaf print with hints of blue, red and green is cut with the softest silk, and features voluminous puff sleeves and a plunging neckline that meets a bow in the middle. A frontal center slit is the finishing touch in this summer frock that is lovely, feminine and comfortable. ($1,500)

Long, balloon sleeves, a deep v-shaped neckline and an abstract flower print come together in this blouse that works for women of all ages and body types. Featuring a wrap-effect at the front, the Campari blouse is paired here with the high-waisted Tiberio pants in a pearl shade. (Blouse $650; Pants $620)

This polished piece features a keyhole neckline, long flowing sleeves and delicate slits at the shoulders, with a bold hibiscus print over a warm taupe shade. Make this top the focal point of your ensemble, by pairing it with solid-toned trousers. For an unforgettable look, style this over the Biella skirt. (Blouse $650; Skirt $720)

The Allerona is a frock that features a layered tiered skirt and a built-in wrap around the bodice that can be tied as a bow in the front or in the back. This effortless cotton dress is available in two options, in cerulean stripes or in a black floral print, paired here with a Carol Basket handbag. (Dress $920; Bag $680)


“My latest designs are more focused on a ready to wear collection, more than a couture collection,” says Maritza Fernandez, the proprietor and designer for the Filomena Fernandez brand based in Coral Gables. “Fall 2020 will be a strong, comfortable, classy and timeless one. My inspiration for this season comes from looking to the past. We are still wearing the same items but pairing them with new accessories, like masks and mask chords. The handmade, one of a kind mask chords are something that I never could have imagined would be so popular. They are all designed and produced at our Ponce de Leon location…. I think what people really love about them is that the masks help them stand out and express themselves in a new world where everyone is wearing the same exact thing.” 

Filomena Fernandez
4217 Ponce de Leon Blvd.

“Just because the pandemic requires masks, that is no reason not to look your stylish best. All our masks are all reversable and made from non-irritating silk.” (Mask $30)

“This Island chic print is based on a place like Miami or Hawaii. The print is of palms because of their strong and sophisticated look, and because they are swaying in the wind. The neon trimmings add some fun to the basic color of beige and black.” (Jacket $379; Pants $359)

“We are trying to be more practical and camouflaged at the same time, with this ensemble that combines what we love about jeans – the comfort, the coolness, the versatility of adapting to the different occasions – and the camouflage that is done in a very girly way, with embroidery, to soften it.” (Jeans $299; Jacket $226)

“This is part of our Pre-Fall 2020 collection, inspired by the super fun and chic days of Studio 54. It comes in the electric pink seen here or in silver gray. It is a very feminine and powerful look at the same time.” (Dress $498)

“Also from the Pre-Fall 2020 collection, this is a reinvention of a military man’s outfit, transforming that inspiration in a feminine dressy but casual way that can be mixed with a T-shirt or a silk blouse. A masculine look in a very girly approach.” (Jacket $380; Pants $296; T-shirt $98)